Covid-19: Introduce three-tier system for SOP violators instead of RM10k fines for all, says Lee Lam Thye

KUALA LUMPUR: A three-tier system for Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) violators should be introduced instead of a RM10,000 fine for all offenders, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Alliance for Safe Community chairman said a distinction must be made between first-time offenders and repeat culprits.

"It is proposed that a three-tier system be introduced instead of a RM10,000 fine for all.

"I suggest that the relevant authority devise and implement a fairer system of penalising those who violate the SOPs put in place to fight Covid-19. They should exercise their wisdom and fairness to determine the appropriate fines to be imposed," he said on Saturday (Feb 27).

A three-tier system will ensure that the casual offender will not be placed in the same category as the habitual, persistent and recalcitrant offender, he added.

"Persistent offenders can easily be traced through police records," he urged.

Lee said increasing the fines for SOP offenders from RM1,000 to RM10,000 is too hefty and excessive as it is a 900% increase.

"If the severity increases, so must the prescribed punishment. Currently, the punishment for violating the SOPs is RM1,000.

"Since the instance and effect of not following SOPs have increased drastically over the past year, it makes sense to increase the fine of RM1,000 which is stipulated by the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

"However, increasing the fines to RM10,000 is hefty and excessive," he said.

He added that a fine is especially hefty when an offender commits an offence due to sheer carelessness or forgetfulness and not as an act of defiance.

"In cases like these, some flexibility should be exercised by law enforcers so as not to unfairly burden the public, ” added Lee.

He added that not everyone can afford a RM10,000 fine, especially during economically challenging times.

“It is also not fair to first offenders who probably forgot or were slow in complying. There may be some who made honest or unintentional mistakes. These people should be let off with a reprimand," he said.

He also called on all people to follow the SOPs strictly.

"This is important for their safety and that of their loved ones. Comply not because of the law but because of one’s safety and health.

"For this, it is important to step up efforts to educate the public on their responsibility to ensure that they do not unwittingly spread the virus," he said.

Lee also reminded law enforcement personnel to exercise utmost discretion and fair judgment before issuing summonses to offenders.

"For those who make unintentional mistakes, they must be reprimanded. However, enforcers must not hesitate to take action against those who openly flout the SOP which can lead to Covid-19 transmission and infection," he said.

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